HOW TO PROVE YOU ARE NOT AT FAULT IN A CAR ACCIDENT (7 WAYS)
Car crashes are jarring enough, not to mention potentially very dangerous. And determining who was at fault in an accident can add even more stress to an already difficult situation.
Determining fault in an auto accident is not always so obvious. While two parties can assume some level of responsibility for an accident (both are at-fault), it's much more likely that one individual driver's negligence led to the crash.
For example, in a rear-end collision, the rear driver is almost always at fault (called 'no-doubt' liability). But in other types of accidents where the cause and effect relationship is less clear, it's in your interest to take the right steps to prove you are not at fault for the car accident.
If you've been in an accident and need legal advice on how to prove your innocence, contact a car accident attorney today. Bruscato is a leading car accident attorney in Monroe, Louisiana, specializing in personal injury cases, auto accidents, and workers' compensation.
Keep reading to learn what to do to prove you aren't at fault in a car accident.
How Different States Determine Fault in a Car Accident
Each state has its own laws to determine fault and financial liability in car wrecks.
From a top-down perspective, there are two types of states: at-fault and no-fault states.
I'll explain their differences presently.
If you live in a fault-based state and have been involved in a car accident, then the victim is responsible for filing a claim with the at-fault driver's insurer. The claim can cover damages including property damage, vehicle damage, lost wages due to injury, pain and suffering, medical bills, and other losses.
In at-fault states, if the insurance company denies your claim because they think you are at fault, you can dispute their decision legally. As I mentioned in the introduction of this post, if you were in a rear-end collision, it's more than likely that the rear driver will be at-fault.
Looking at the damage of the vehicles can often tell an accurate story of who is at fault. For example, say someone ran a red light as you were making a left turn and hit you. Running a red light is reason enough to prove fault in this left-turn accident, but if there were any doubt, the damage to the front-end or front-right side of your vehicle would be clear evidence to determine who was at fault.
In no-fault states, the fault doesn't actually matter a whole lot. Drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage or something comparable. This type of insurance comes into play after an accident has occurred. It covers any economic losses suffered by the policyholder, no matter who was at fault for the crash.
What You Need to Prove to Receive Compensation for Your Injuries
To receive fair compensation, you need to prove the other driver was at fault.
As I mentioned, in many cases determining fault is clear as day. But in some situations, it's not so easy. Insurance companies will use any ambiguity to their advantage to limit your insurance claim. If there is any shadow of a doubt that you were at fault, they will do everything in their power to limit your compensation.
Insurance companies need proof of negligence. The burden is on you to prove your right to fair compensation.
Here are three things you'll need to show the insurance company to prove liability in a car wreck:
The driver was negligent and didn't fulfill their duty to practice proper care when driving on the road.
The driver's negligence caused the car accident.
The driver's negligence physically damaged you.
Proving your right to compensation can be a daunting task, especially if you suffered an injury from a car crash. A car accident attorney can help. Contact Bruscato today for a free case evaluation, and we'll do everything in our power to prove the other driver's negligence.
7 Ways to Prove You Were Not at Fault in a Car Crash
In a car wreck, there are plenty of factors that can obfuscate the real cause of the accident. Were there inclement weather conditions? Were there several cars involved? Is it possible that the fault can be distributed to multiple drivers? Louisiana is a pure comparative fault state, which means the more at-fault you are, the fewer damages you stand to recover.
Below are the seven main ways to clear up the confusion and determine the fault of a crash with utmost confidence and evidence:
Collect all evidence of the crash
It's essential to collect as much evidence as you can from the scene of the accident. That's because later on, you will need to prove no-fault during your case.
If you can, take photos of the vehicle damage and the area of the crash. If you are injured and unable to take pictures yourself, ask a bystander to take as many photos of the accident as possible for you. These photos may serve as crucial evidence later on during the investigation.
Exchange contact information
Next, you'll want to exchange contact information with the other driver. It would be best if you did this not so much to prove no-fault of your own but to collect the driver's insurance company information, which you will need when it comes time to file your car accident claim.
Get witness testimony
Was there anybody around at the scene of the accident? Did anyone witness the crash? If so, it is crucial that you speak with them, exchange contact information, and get their eye witness statement. Third parties can provide valuable unbiased testimony that can be very powerful when it comes time to prove the fault and negligence of the other driver.
Check Your Local Traffic Laws
Different states have different traffic laws. Speed limits, right of way, traffic violations—all of these laws can vary state-by-state, and by researching your local traffic laws, you can have a better idea of who was at fault.
Whether it was running a red light, making an illegal left turn, or failing to yield the right of way, a personal injury attorney can help you skip the research process and give you the expert advice you need to prove your case and seek fair compensation.
Get your hands on the police report
You must contact the police if you were in an accident. The responding police officer will speak with all parties involved and put together a report documenting what happened.
At the end of this process, they'll have a formal accident report. The information in this police report will outline the details of the accident and any conclusion made as far as who was at fault.
Getting your hands on a copy of the police report is critical because it can be used as evidence for any insurance or legal proceedings.
No doubt liabilities
No-doubt liability accidents are defined as blatant traffic violations that are easy to prove who was at fault.
Things like running a red light, stop sign, rear-end collisions, speeding, driving under the influence, or other unambiguous and unmistakable traffic violations make it very easy to determine which driver was at fault.
Ultimately, liability will come down to the facts and the specific details of the accident. If you can prove and rule out the possibility of a no-doubt liability accident where you are at fault, then you will be in a better position to defend your case.
Don't admit fault and keep it to yourself
If you've been involved in a car crash, it very quickly becomes a serious legal matter. What you say and who you tell it to matter a great deal instantly. As a rule of thumb, my advice is to keep the details of the incident to yourself and only share them with an attorney. If you make any comments to the police officer, the other driver, or even the insurance company suggesting you may be at fault, your credibility will weaken, and you stand the risk of implying your negligence in the accident.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help Prove Fault
Bruscato Law Firm takes all car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay nothing unless you win your case. John Bruscato is a personal injury lawyer who has represented countless car accident victims in Monroe and surrounding areas in Louisiana. Call our office today at 318-855-1613 or schedule a free consultation online to discuss your legal options.